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McFeely: In southeast North Dakota's Bison country, SDSU's Goedert has many fans

South Dakota State's Dallas Goedert carries the Dakota Marker to the Jackrabbit fan section as his teammates celebrate Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, at the Fargodome. David Samson / Forum News Service1 / 3
Gordon Phillips (left), who lives in Forman, N.D., is the grandfather to former South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert who is expected to be a first or second round pick in this year's NFL Draft. Photo provided by Gordon Phillips.2 / 3
South Dakota State's Dallas Goedert breaks away from North Dakota State's Tre Dempsey after a reception Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, at the Fargodome. David Samson / Forum News Service3 / 3

FARGO, N.D.—Dallas Goedert's grandfather sent me a wonderful letter (handwritten) and a packet of information the other day. Gordon Phillips lives in Forman, N.D., and wanted to provide me an update on his daughter's son, the South Dakota State University tight end who likely will be a high National Football League draft choice come April.

Forman is about 95 miles from Fargo, located in Sargent County in the southeast portion of North Dakota. It is not far from Havana, N.D., where much of the Goedert/Phillips clan is from.

"Dallas was born in Havana, and his family has been there for 127 years," Gordon wrote.

It is also near the South Dakota border and in the neighborhood of 30 miles north of Britton, S.D., where Goedert ("The Britton Bomber") grew up and graduated from high school. Goedert walked on at South Dakota State and became an All-American, graded by some as the best tight end in all of college football. Goedert was a North Dakota State University killer the past two years in the regular season as the Jackrabbits took possession of the Dakota Marker Trophy with victories in the rivalry game.

This likely left many in the Forman-Havana-Britton corridor with mixed emotions. They cheered for Dallas to do well, but Grandpa Gordon says the area is part of the Bison Nation.

"Our area is all Bison, and I also have four NDSU grads," Gordon wrote. "Most are also Dallas fans."

The update on Goedert from Grandpa Gordon is this:

Goedert graduated from SDSU in December and signed with the same agency, Rep1 Sports of California, as former Bison quarterback Carson Wentz. Goedert is represented by Chase Callahan. Former NDSU linebacker Nick DeLuca also signed with Rep1.

Goedert and DeLuca are currently in Irvine, Calif., at Rep1's facility training for the NFL Draft in April. They will fly to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., later this month. Then it's on to the NFL Combine in March.

Included in Gordon's packet was a copy of "The Britton Journal" weekly newspaper, which included a long front-page feature on Goedert written by Doug Card. There were many interesting nuggets in the article.

Goedert said some agents were pushing him to leave SDSU after his junior season and declare early for the NFL Draft.

"I started getting messages from agents trying to get me to go into the draft a year early," Goedert told the Journal. "The first one came to our house in February, and I was getting calls and messages throughout the spring semester, into the summer. We (Dallas, his mother Mary, and stepdad Gary Carlson) narrowed it down to five going into this season on who we thought would fit best."

Goedert said he received a text message from Wentz that helped him choose Rep1.

"One day after practice I got a text message from him," Goedert said. "Everybody in the locker room read it. After he was injured, I texted him to say I was thinking about him, and he texted right back. It was really cool to text back and forth with the top quarterback in the NFL."

Draft experts like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have Goedert ranked as one of the top tight ends available in the draft. NFL Draft Scout has him No. 2 behind Indiana's Ian Thomas.

"When I think about it, I get a little bit nervous, but I'm hoping my name pops up in the first round," Goedert told the Journal. "Some of the mock drafts have me as a first-round pick, but so much can change in the next four months. If I don't do something terrible at the combine or the Senior Bowl, it is pretty set in stone that I will go in the first three rounds, but it is going to be a nerve-wracking, exciting experience."

Goedert is a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan and said it "would be really cool" to be drafted by the Packers so he could play with Aaron Rodgers.

In his packet, along with a family Christmas card, Grandpa Gordon included a photocopy of some advertisements he bought in The Britton Journal.

"Havana Is Proud Of Dallas Goedert—SDSU All American Football Player—Havana Resident from 1995-1998"

Included was a photo of Goedert and one of Grandpa Gordy's great-grandchildren walking together down the aisle of a store.

The ads were signed: "Proud Grandpa Gordy."

Proud enough to write a letter to a columnist in Fargo, with all of the needed information included.

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